Archive for January, 2012

January 31, 2012

Rules and Best Practices for the Daily Scrum / Stand-up meeting

by Sampath Prahalad

We all know the 3 questions that are to be answered in the daily Scrum meeting.

  1. Yesterday: What did you work on since the last Scrum?
  2. Today: What will you be working on till the next Scrum?
  3. In my way: What impediments are you facing?

Below are some Written Rules and some Good practices for the daily scrum meet.

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January 30, 2012

Super Scrum master. Duties of a Scrum Master. Dramatized. :o)

by Sampath Prahalad

There is a saying that I recently read on the web.

‘It is easy to find a Scrummaster, It is hard to find a good one’

Take a look at this well made video on the duties of a ScrumMaster. Quite dramatized, ensures that you will surely not miss the point.

Ian here is quite serious about the duties of the Scrum Master, but his methods are questionable.

January 24, 2012

Scrum in under 10 mins.

by Sampath Prahalad

Below is a video from Axosoft. The best concise video on Scrum that I have seen.
I have blogged about it earlier but then this really is worth a repeat mention.

Enjoy.

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January 20, 2012

Co-location and Osmotic Communication

by Sampath Prahalad

We all know that Agile and its various flavors (Scrum, XP, etc) place huge emphasis on face to face (F2F) communication. In fact, this is one of the key principles of the Agile Manifesto.

The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

For F2F communication to be effective, it is absolutely necessary that the delivery team is co-located.

Which among the below would qualify for a co-located team?

  1. Team members seated in various offices in the same city
  2. Team members seated in different floors of the same building
  3. Team members on the same floor with Dev in one zone and QA in the other
  4. The entire team seated in a room or within a single bus (the one that we travel in) length.

While all the above fare much better in comparison with a team that is split across different time zones,

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January 13, 2012

You think you know Scrum? Take this test.

by Sampath Prahalad

Hmm.. So, you think that you know all about Scrum or at least most of it?

Take the Scrum Open Assessment from Scrum.org. Scrum.org was founded by Ken Schwaber, one of the creators of Scrum.

The below is a dump from Scrum.org

The Scrum Open assessment is available for free to anyone interested in testing their knowledge of Scrum. The assessment consists of 30 questions randomly selected from a larger pool. The average score on this assessment is 78%. The assessment was developed during a rigorous 6-month period of inspection and adaptation.

This assessment helped me assess my knowledge when I was preparing for my PMI-ACP Certificate exam.

Try it out…

All the best.

January 10, 2012

Scrum and New Year Resolutions

by Sampath Prahalad

New year resolutions are like a Release in the Waterfall model. Planning up front, execution there after, no mid term review, stays alive for anything from a few hours to a max of 6 months.

Drifting a little, Scrum in a nutshell is about

  • Frequent small releases
  • Review at the end of each Sprint
  • Continuous process improvement

Now, back to bridging the two…

Here is how we can make the resolutions last longer, make them more predictable and that much more achievable.

Extending the principles of Scrum to New Year resolutions, I suggest having new Resolutions each month.

  • At the beginning of each month, I shall make few (a max of 2) resolutions, write them down, and resolve to follow them for the current month. (Equivalent to Sprint Planning)
  • Once finalized, I shall print it out or write it down on a sheet of paper (A4 or bigger) and stick it up at a place in my bedroom or office cubicle (as long as the resolutions are not too personal).
  • Once a day (at dawn or dusk), I will check against the sheet of paper stuck up to see where I am with the resolutions. (Daily Scrum)
  • Towards the end of the month, I would list the resolutions that I want to have for the next month. (equivalent to ‘grooming the product backlog’)
  • At the end of the month, I shall review the results (equivalent to Sprint Review)
  • Also, do a reality check on whether this monthly resolution stuff really works (equivalent to Sprint Retrospective)

Benefits:

  • There is an opportunity to have small achievable SMART resolutions once every month. The idea is that 12 – 18 small resolutions that work are better than 2-5 big resolutions that never get implemented.
  • If a resolution breaks, we dont have to wait a whole year to set up another set. At the beginning of the next month, the next set starts getting implemented.
  • Monthly introspection leads into more mature and measurable resolutions over a period of time.
  • Easier on the mind if you have to do something new for 30 days rather than 365.

In Summary, switch over to from ‘Once a year’ resolutions to Monthly Resolutions for more predictive results and measurable progress.

January 10, 2012

PMI-ACP(Agile Certification). Results of the Pilot phase announced. :o)

by Sampath Prahalad

Small Update..

Got my results from PMI (Project Management Institute) for the PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Professional) certification exam.

Cleared the Certification exam.
Proud to say that I am among the first batch of people in the world to be PMI-Agile Certified and among the first 50 in India.

Here are some details about the certification: http://www.pmi.org/en/Certification/New-PMI-Agile-Certification.aspx

This certification was in the pilot phase till Nov 30th. The exam will resume in the from the end of this month.

Some insights into the PMI-ACP Certification exam

  • At 30,000 ft, the exam covers Agile Tools and Techniques, Agile Processes.
  • At 20,000 ft, it covers the Agile manifesto, Scrum, Lean, XP (eXtreme Programming), Agile Risk management, Communication methods, etc.
  • At 5,000 ft, it goes into details of Agile planning and estimating, Osmotic communication, Pair programming, the complete process of Scrum, Definition of Done, Stakeholder management, Information radiators, Planning Poker, Innovation games, Lean and Kanban, etc.

All in all, a good certificate to hold if you are really serious about Agile and its various flavors.

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January 10, 2012

Notes for the daily scrum meeting.

by Sampath Prahalad

I had this discussion yesterday where one of the managers asked for Note taking during the daily scrum meeting so that it can be referred to at a later point of time.

Seems like a good idea, but here are my points.

  • Scrum is for the team. Anyone outside the delivery team who wants to know what is happening should attend the daily scrum and HAS to be a chicken.
  • Also, as a necessary good practice, Chickens (people who are not part of the delivery team) should make it a point to keep silent.  
  • Any team member attending it daily will be aware of any key decisions taken or progress made. 
  • If the notes are needed because there are absentees regularly in the daily scrum, the problem that we have is that of absenteeism. All team members have to be part of the daily Scrum, be attentive and stick to the 3 questions.

In summary, I feel that Scrum Notes are an overhead on one person (who has to maintain them) and does not really help anyone who genuinely wants to work closely with the team.

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